In the ADKAR model, awareness is defined as “the state or condition of being aware; having knowledge; consciousness.” This implies that you are only truly aware when you can answer the following questions:

  • What is changing?
  • Why are we changing?
  • What happens if we do not change?

Jeff Hiatt illustrates this in his book “ADKAR a model for changing in business, government and our community” with the example of the introduction of code of practice for Ghanaian pineapple farmers who wanted to export their products.

Awareness Case Study: Ghanaian Pineapples

Photo by Kelli McClintock

Ghana produced several varieties of pineapples all considered excellent. However, the country needed to safeguard the good quality of Ghanaian pineapples and ensure it was recognized by the international market. Accordingly, steps were implemented from 2005 onwards to strengthen the standard of hygiene and process control. Thus, access to necessary post-harvest infrastructure became the industry focus and was condensed into a code of practice.

One of the first steps taken to ensure farmer compliance was the introduction of an awareness campaign that, in short, answered the what, why, what happens if questions. This informed farmers of:

  • What the code of practice was – basic standards covering such things as how to grow pineapples and what type of fertilizers or pesticides to use.
  • Why the code of practice was needed – to ensure quality and represent a competitive advantage over other pineapple producing countries, thereby allowing Ghanaian farmers to sell more and at higher prices than farmers from other countries.
  • What happens if they don’t change – a significant loss of income for farmers because of the inability to export due to the failure to meet the requirements of pineapple importing countries, including the EU and the UK.

One of the major benefits of this extremely successful project is that it has been monitored and researched over the years and so has provided a set of data that informs and guides us. The research has resulted in the publishing of numerous papers including one from Yale University that explains the pattern of communication used to socialize the change within the farmer’s community.

You can find out more in our next chapters when we discuss the other elements of ADKAR.